Heaven And Drawing Lines

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 5:3]

Do you think you know who’s going to heaven?

A few days ago I ran across a blog post titled Ten People Who Won’t Be In Heaven. It’s a catchy title—at least it got my attention on Twitter. I won’t link to it because, frankly, I can’t find it again. But trust me, you’re not missing anything.

We don’t need another scriptural litany of sins. You know what I mean, the really awful sins that all those other people do. The sins that are so horrible that we can say for sure they’re going to keep people from God’s eternal presence.

Of course the writer omitted sins like judging, failing to forgive your neighbor, forgetting to feed the hungry—insignificant stuff like that apparently wasn’t bad enough to make the top-ten list.

Drawing lines—those are the really nasty guys, the ones we need to single out for eternal damnation. On this side of the line are the good guys, which apparently means those of us guilty of acceptable offenses.

Drawing lines—I do it, we all do it. But let’s be honest.

When we draw lines, we try in vain to identify ourselves with a better class of sinners.

I definitely believe in absolute truth and right. But I also believe that no person can stand alone in the harsh light of that truth. “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. [Romans 3:21-24]

There is no difference. That doesn’t fit our notion of fairness, but God fortunately doesn’t see things our way.

What if we quit drawing lines? What if we dropped our silly obsession with labels and division? What if we focused on tearing down the barriers rather than fortifying them? What if we approached others with simple unconditional respect?

When Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit..,” He was describing those who recognize their own spiritual bankruptcy. The “poor in spirit” are those who understand their spiritual insufficiency and their absolute need to fall into Jesus’ mercy and grace. When you understand that, it’s difficult to draw lines.

There is no difference.

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. Oscar Wilde

As hard as I try to avoid it, I draw lines. What are some of the lines you tend to draw?

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Dixon
Copyright 2009 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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